Why use a 'Proper' estate agent (part 1)

The role an estate agent plays in helping buyers and sellers to reach a satisfactory conclusion is critical to the sales process. Yet some vendors are understandably tempted to fall into the trap of trying to do the job themselves, or be convinced to pay upfront, in an attempt to “save thousands”.

Even in the USA, where agency fees average around 6%, private sales have declined steadily from 20% in 1987 to just 13% today (half of which were “in family” sales). Additionally, the statistics, based on a survey of some 7,800 sales, suggest that private sellers in the US typically achieve around 16% less for their home than those sold using an estate agent. And with good reason.

Firstly, it’s not just about finding a buyer. In some ways that’s the easy bit! Yes, you can upload details and pictures of your property for minimal cost, albeit usually paid up-front with no guarantee of a sale. You could also erect your own “For Sale” board in your garden and conduct your own negotiations. For this you would save a small percentage of the price of your property. The flip side is that you could potentially lose far more.

The first critical issue is valuation. This is both an art and a science that relies on a thorough knowledge of what has sold, and what has failed to sell and why, as well as an understanding of current buyers’ preferences, needs and options. Values vary almost daily depending on the availability of comparable stock in relation to local demand.

A private seller or someone who has been convinced to pay in advance can unwittingly be misled in these areas. Understanding the importance of value can be distorted by properties you assume had sold for the advertised figure, without knowing the actual price achieved or which do not necessarily reflect the current market. 

Alternatively, by basing an asking price on properties currently available, you risk making a comparison with properties that the market has rejected. Your property could then become a springboard to help someone else sell theirs! 

When it comes to selling what is probably your largest asset, our expertise can help you maximise your investment. Please feel free to call us for a chat on 01322 228090.